Biography Liela Moss
With the Duke Spirit, collaborators including UNKLE and Simon Raymonde, and on her own, Liela Moss is a powerful and versatile singer. Her ethereal upper register and smoky lower tones work equally well with bluesy rock, electronic music, dream pop, or lush, string-laden ballads, all of which she explored on her solo albums, 2018's My Name Is Safe in Your Mouth and 2020's Who the Power.
During her teenage years, Moss was a die-hard music fan -- particularly of the riot grrrl movement -- but didn't begin singing until she was 19. While studying photography at an art college in Cheltenham, England, her flatmate Luke Ford recruited her to sing for the band that would become the Duke Spirit. The group recorded its bluesy 2004 debut album, Cuts Across the Land, with Simon Raymonde, beginning a lengthy creative partnership between Moss and the former Cocteau Twin. She embarked on another enduring collaboration by appearing on UNKLE's 2007 album, War Stories, and contributed vocals to the 2011 deluxe edition of their album Where Did the Night Fall (Another Night Out).
Following the release of their 2011 album, Bruiser, the Duke Spirit went on hiatus, and Moss used the opportunity to explore different projects. In 2012, she appeared on Nick Cave and Warren Ellis' soundtrack to the film Lawless. Moss and the band's bassist, Toby Butler, formed the electropop duo Roman Remains, which released a pair of singles in 2013 and the following year's full-length Zeal. Also in 2014, Moss performed alongside the Heritage Orchestra at a concert celebrating the work of producer/composer Giorgio Moroder at the Sydney Opera House. In 2015, she reunited with UNKLE for "Touch Me," a single that appeared on Global Underground #41: James Lavelle Presents UNKLE Sounds - Naples. The Duke Spirit re-formed in the mid-2010s, issuing a pair of introspective albums, 2016's Kin and the following year's The Sky Is Mine. In 2017, Moss also contributed to Ojalá, the debut album from Raymonde's Lost Horizons project, and appeared on UNKLE's album The Road, Pt. 1.
Moss began her solo career, which built on the somber direction of her band's later work, in the late 2010s. Recorded at her Somerset home with Butler producing, 2018's My Name Is Safe in Your Mouth put the focus on her vocals and drew inspiration from sources ranging from Emmylou Harris to Massive Attack's Mezzanine. For 2020's Who the Power, she worked at home with Butler once again, this time pairing vintage electronics with lyrics that tapped into folk traditions as well as 21st century political and ecological concerns. (AllMusicGuide)